How do you attract the right guests to your fundraiser and auction? Many of your key supporters are already attending your event, and they’re just waiting to be asked for their help. They are eager to give and happy to help you engage other supporters long after your event is over.
However, you’ll need to consider a new approach. Audience development is a strategic and focused effort to ensure that you invite and engage your audience year-round. Stop thinking of your gala or auction as a one-time event; this is the limiting transactional approach. (You can learn more about my philanthropic approach to benefit auctions in Chapter 1 of A Higher Bid.) Instead, be more strategic. Know that your event can be inspiring enough to transform its guests into dedicated donors.
Create a community of champions. Build a powerful guest list of generous people that you can cultivate as donors for your great cause? Here is my favorite hidden gem to increase audience development.
Are you inviting other professionals with whom your organization shares a strategic alliance? Be sure to include anyone who’s a professional allied with your profession. Consider those to whom you refer clients and those who refer clients to you. What about feeder schools or schools your that your students attend after graduation? Who hires the clients that you train, serve, or treat? Who attends the same professional conferences, hearings, and coalitions? Who is doing research, teaching, providing health care or law in your area? In a philanthropic model of benefit auctions, your goal is to connect people to your cause for long-term engagement and giving.
Allied professionals are often overlooked. They’re already there; just invite them in. This is a quick win, win, win.
Check out Chapter 5 of A Higher Bid to learn in-depth strategies and detailed techniques to get the right people in the room.
Please share you ideas with me at firstname.lastname@example.org